Youngblood #1

Writer: Chad Bowers
Artist: Jim Towe
Colorist:  Juan Manuel Rodriguez
Letterer: Rus Wooten
Publisher: Image Comics

A review by Greg Brothers  

In 1992, a new comic book publisher by the name of Image was getting its start. The focus of Image was to create a company where the writers and artist would get more credit for their work while owning the rights to their creations. Rob Liefeld had recently had a fallout with Marvel Comics over some of his characters he had created, including Deadpool. This desire to create his own team of superheroes in addition to his inablility to secure a deal to write Teen Titans for DC motivated Liefeld to unveil his superhero team Youngblood, as Images first comic book.

When I first saw Youngblood, I loved the concept behind it. The fact is that if Superheroes existed in real life they would more than likely have been part of a government organization. Because of the way that society is, it also made sense that those superheroes would become celebrities and must manage all the pitfalls and pressure that comes with that. Unfortunately, over time the book started to run into shipping delays until the first run ended. Since then there have been many stops and starts and unfulfilled promises when it came to bringing the series back. Finally, just in time for the 25th anniversary of Image Comics a new Youngblood #1 is ready to hit the shelves.

Youngblood #1 picks up with a new self-made hero named Man-Up using the new Superhero App Help! to try and stop some local crimes. After making promises to meet up with a friend Man-Up disappears. Fast-Forward a few months and we find out where Diehard and Vogue are and how much power they have come to yield. Shortly after being reunited with these two the story thrusts us into a confrontation between a new group of heroes and a second-generation criminal. While the fight rages on original team member Badrock meets up with fellow member Shaft as they plan on joining the fight.

Youngblood #1 is enough of an original story that if you have never read a Youngblood comic you will not be missing much. If you have been a fan of the series seeing what some of the classic characters are up to now will more than likely raise more questions than give any hard answers, which is to be expected for the launce of a new ongoing series. It is nice to see Bowers continuing to use the idea of the series being somewhat of a parallel to reality with the use of things like an app where people can call for help and then grade the hero on their response and outcome of the situation. Issue one does fall into some of the pitfalls that you often see in first issues as we do not get much character development however several threads are created for what can be assume will be storylines down the road.

Towe’s art is bright and engaging while being based in realism. The uniforms of the classic characters are close enough that readers will be able to identify them with little to no problem. Thankfully Towe does take some of the over the top elements in characters’ design that was present with the nineties version and tones it down to fit better with more realistic body types and proportions. The art at times also starts to lay hints as to whereabouts and stories to be told of some of the other former team members that are not seen here.

The Verdict
Wait and See.
If you are a fan of the classic series then Youngblood #1 will drop you back into a universe that, while different in many ways, has a very familiar feel to it. Moving forward it will be interesting to see how well the writers are at towing the line between nostalgia and unique stories. If they can develop these new characters moving forward while giving long time readers the closure they seek with former members of the team then Image could see one of their oldest franchises become one of their most important franchises again.

Gregory Brothers
Ohio born and raised. Avid comicbook fan who is always trying to find time to get through my ever growing read pile. When not working on that I Teach, coach youth sports, and cheer on my hometown Cincinnati teams, and Buckeyes. Can also be heard talking comics and pop-culture on The Comics Agenda Podcast.

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